Qualitative Research for Allied HealthProfessionals - Challenging Choices
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More About This Title Qualitative Research for Allied HealthProfessionals - Challenging Choices


This practical text addresses a gap in the literature by mapping the links between philosophy, research method and practice in an accessible, readable way. It offers guidance to allied health professionals – increasingly involved in research as the emphasis grows on evidence-based practice – on how to engage in meaningful, good quality qualitative research.

To help researchers take on this challenge, the book:

  • highlights some of the choices involved in carrying out qualitative research
  • offers a wide range of practical examples to show how different ways of doing qualitative research can be managed
  • critically examines a variety of qualitative research methodologies of particular interest to allied health professionals
  • clarifies the links between epistemology, methodology and method.

The book is structured in three parts.  Part I sensitises readers to the complex issues which challenge qualitative researchers at the planning stage of their projects. In Part II, the challenge of using different methodologies is critically explored by fifteen authors, who describe their individual research experiences. Part III examines the choices researchers make when they evaluate and present research.


Linda Finlay PhD, BA(Hons), DipCOT, Academic Consultant, The Open University, Milton Keynes and MSc dissertation supervisor Physiotherapy & OT, University of East London, UK.

Claire Ballinger PhD, MSc, DipCOT, Reader in Occupational Therapy, London South Bank University, UK.




PART I: Planning the research.

Chapter 1: ‘Going exploring’: The nature of qualitative research (Linda Finlay).

Chapter 2: Mapping methodology (Linda Finlay).

Chapter 3: Strategic choices in research planning (Barbara Steward).

Chapter 4 Ethical and governance issues in qualitative research (Claire Ballinger and Rose Wiles).

PART II: Doing the research.

Chapter 5: A grounded theory of the wellbeing of older people (Mandy Stanley).

Chapter 6: An ethnography of physiotherapy culture (Barbara Richardson).

Chapter 7: Investigating invisible groups using mixed methodologies (Barbara Steward).

Chapter 8: Communication practices in physiotherapy: A conversation analytic study (Ruth H. Parry).

Chapter 9: Using biographical research with disabled young people (Michael Curtin).

Chapter 10: Low back pain: Exploring the meaning of exercise management through interpretative phenomenological analysis (IPA) (Sarah G. Dean, Jonathan A. Smith and Sheila Payne).

Chapter 11: Using a biographic-narrative-interpretive method: Exploring motivation in mental health (Tanya Campbell-Breen and Fiona Poland).

Chapter 12: Empowering young people through participatory research? (Anne Killett).

Chapter 13: The embodied experience of multiple sclerosis: An existential-phenomenological analysis (Linda Finlay).

Chapter 14: Discourse analysis in action: The construction of risk in a community day hospital (Claire Ballinger and Julianne Cheek).

Chapter 15: A case study of unconscious processes in an organisation (Paula Hyde).

PART III: Presenting the research.

Chapter 16: Demonstrating rigour and quality? (Claire Ballinger).

Chapter 17: Disseminating the research: Towards knowledge (Linda Finlay and Barbara Steward).




"…this book should be an essential buy for all those concerned with learning about and understanding research into health and the health service." (Accident and Emergency Nursing Journal, April 2007)

"This book provides an outstanding array of highly relevant references and information on resources"  (British Journal of Occupational Therapy, 2007)